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ITEP explores careers in Long Beach with S.W.A.G!

Teens pondering the universal question, “What do I want to do with my life?” often have no clue where to begin, much less how to set and reach their goals.  Luckily, for a small group of Long Beach youth, the journey to find a career is about to get a little easier…and a lot more fun!

Starting Fall 2012, ITEP is excited to launch a new program: Exploring Careers in Long Beach.  This after-school career exploration program will provide youth with opportunities for personal development and hands-on exploration of key industries and employers in greater Long Beach.

Exploring Careers in Long Beach is being piloted as Students With Ambitious Goals (aka S.W.A.G.) with 50 sophomores from Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School, where administrators and teachers are eager to offer experiential linked learning opportunities for their students.  Assistant Principal Matthew Brown notes, “when schools are working hard to make high school relevant, it is amazing to have a program that truly shows our students what opportunities exist right in their own back yard. And, with businesses getting directly involved, it helps schools more effectively align with what students should be learning to succeed in local industries.”

Through a progressive program of twice-monthly excursions, S.W.A.G. participants will explore hot jobs in cool industries such as Global Trade, Transportation, Health Care, Environmental, Energy, Engineering, Law and Government, as well as explore career opportunities available in the skilled trades and through entrepreneurship.  Youth will build meaningful connections with industry leaders who will guide them in their career exploration.

ITEP has partnered with Exploring/Learning for Life to organize Exploring Careers in Long Beach as an official explorer post and has built a volunteer Advisory Board made up of Long Beach business, education, workforce and community leaders who will guide its strategy and direction.  ITEP Board Member and Exploring Careers Advisory Board Chair, Stacey Jones of CH2M HILL notes, “The Exploring Careers program will give us [ITEP] a great opportunity to broaden our industry-based educational programs into Long Beach, to provide high school sophomores with hands-on experience learning about the highest-demand industries in Long Beach, and to expand their understanding of the real career choices out there.”

S.W.A.G.’s Kick-off Orientation for students and parents in late September will feature a keynote presentation by Damon Dunn, Long Beach business and civic leader, who will share his own journey from abject poverty to stunning success.

In October, S.W.A.G. will highlight the Global Trade industry, beginning with a life expectations session led by representatives from Matson, NYK Line, and the Port of Long Beach, hosted at Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network.  Later in the month, participants will follow up with a visit to each company’s facilities at the Port, where they will board a container ship and meet industry representatives who will share their exciting careers the shipping and logistics industries.

As this is a pilot program, there are still many opportunities to get involved.  ITEP is actively seeking sponsors to help us defray program costs.  Special thanks to Tesoro for coming on board as our very first corporate sponsor! We are also still looking for volunteers to help with monthly excursions and host site visits.  

For more information contact Program Coordinator, Gabriela Perez at

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Mojave XP hosts third annual Career Fair!

Mojave XP  Academy hosted its third Annual Career Fair on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, in the gym at Barstow High. With the United States Marine Corps, Army, and Navy in attendance, as well as ITEP Business Partners Barstow Community College, BNSF, Borax, and other local businesses and organizations, the students learned about various job opportunities and career options available in Barstow.

This year, in addition to the school’s 1,400 students, 60 visiting students from Central High School were able to meet with 20+ vendors and learn about local job opportunities and career options. Students also had the opportunity to do mock interviews with business representatives.

Thanks to the students, teachers, administration, and support staff behind the scenes for making Mojave XP’s 3rd Annual Career Fair a success!

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MATCH students find hot jobs in cold containers at Matson!

Standing in the middle of a cold refrigerated “reefer” container at the Matson terminal in Long Beach, thirty-five MATCH students learned how Christmas trees travel from California to Hawaii. This hands-on experience in the global supply chain was the culmination of a day that started  at the Safeway Vons Distribution Center, continued at Aloha Freight Forwarders, and ended with a lunchtime presentation and tour at Matson Navigation Company.

Tom Good, ITEP Board of Directors member and Director, Sales & Marketing, Southwest Region for Matson, shared with students his career journey and gave tips on being competitive in today’s workplace. Good challenged the students to make the most of their education: “it’s not what college you go to that matters, it’s what you do while you’re there” Good explained.

Students got a special treat when their school bus drove right into the hold a Matson container ship for a visit with Captain Bloomingdale. Excitement was in the air, with MATCH junior Dion asking what it took to be a Captain. “You have to be 6’8” or taller…” joked Bloomingdale, who happens to be 6’10.” Students then drove through towers of containers and over to the reefer cleaning stations where they learned about cold storage and the logistics of travel to Hawaii.

The Vons/Matson tour is becoming a revered tradition for the MATCH Academy. Students walk away with an increased awareness of themselves and the world around them. Thank you to Mike Pantaleon MATCH Advisory Board member for setting up the tour, Tom Good of Matson for inspiring the students, and MATCH Advisory Board members Shirley Knull (formerly of PCC Logistics), and Kaj Palsson of International Cargo Equipment Inc. for chaperoning.

Viva Vons and Mahalo Matson!

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Campus clean up is a step towards a successful career

The idea that a Campus Clean Up activity was going to help the Barstow High School Mojave XP Sophomores prepare for a successful career was a confusing one at first.  But they now understand that many important jobs in our community have to do with the importance of maintaining the roads, streets, parks, and other important aspects of the infrastructure of any community.

Mr. Ronnie Zamora, the Superintendent of Public Works for the City of Barstow, was the guest speaker at the first Campus Clean Up Event for the academy this year.  He volunteered his time to speak to about 30 sophomores on Tuesday, October 25th in the BHS Library.   These students chose to stay after school to hear him share about the jobs available in Public Works and other departments of the City of Barstow.  He answered questions about how to look for jobs online, what each job pays, what type of education and experience is needed for each job, and his own sense of satisfaction with his career choice.

Afterwards, students picked up rakes, hoes, and brooms and had a good time cleaning up the BHS campus.  Some students got a late start at cleaning because they had more questions they wanted to ask.  Mr. Zamora, who has been involved with the Mojave XP Academy in the past, moved easily into casual conversations with the students and provided a great learning experience for these BHS Mojave XP sophomores.

By: Harlene Stanley, Program Manager

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Oakland students see powerful ports at work

For two days, ten students and two teachers from the International Trade, Transportation, and Logistics academy at Oakland’s McClymonds High School toured the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as in ITEP’s “Powerful Ports” tour. The tour was more than a sightseeing excursion for students — it was an eye-opener.

Through its extensive industry network, ITEP brought together top maritime industries and powerful ports to show students the relevancy of academics have to high paying jobs. During the Study Tour to the Ports of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, the Marine Exchange, APL Limited, CSU Long Beach, Matson Lines, and the Long Beach Aquarium, students learned more about the ports, their careers, their futures, and themselves.
Theresa Adams Lopez, Director of Public Relations for POLA, gave a Talk and Tour at the Port of Los Angeles where ITTL students explored the Angelina, the Port’s yacht reserved for visiting VIP’s. Students showed interest in vessel tracking at the Marine Exchange, where they quizzed Executive Director Dick McKenna and Marine Exchange personnel about naval regulations, vessel catastrophes, and the benefits of public-private partnerships.

Director of the CITT and CSULB, Marianne Venieris, explained the importance of trade skills in obtaining a job. “She told us that you don’t need a bunch of fancy degrees but that all kids should have an alternative in high school” remarked student Desirae Johnson.

The second day started with a tour of the Port of Long Beach led by Officer Steven Macias. Macias spoke about globalization in the maritime community and the value of knowing foreign languages. When student Easom Saed noted he spoke Arabic, Steven Macias immediately gave Easom his business card and asked him to call after he graduated, a powerful gesture that really grabbed the students attention.

Matson Lines Director of Sales & Marketing, Tom Good, explained the essentials of a successful job interview. “Mr. Good’s presentation was really important for me. I learned many things about the working world. Mr. Good inspired me to work hard and take things more seriously,” student Easom Saed said.

Desirae Johnson said it best: “What I took out of this trip was that if you want something, you have to give it your all. The way you present yourself to others and carry yourself can benefit you in more ways than you can imagine.”

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We added two new Board Members!

“City National Bank and Valero Energy Corporation are leading employers and generous supporters within the communities we serve,” said ITEP CEO Amy Grat

Cheryl Gage image

Cheryl Gage, City National Bank

Los Angeles— International Trade Education Programs (ITEP), which introduces high school students to careers in international trade, transportation, and logistics, will increase its impact with the addition of two new board members.

Cheryl Gage, Senior Vice President for City National Bank and Stephen Faichney, Director of Public and Government Relations at Valero Energy Corporation, Wilmington will join ITEP on July 1st.

“We’re very excited to have them join the ITEP Board of Directors, said ITEP CEO Amy Grat. “Cheryl and Stephen are active and respected civic leaders within the Harbor and South Bay. Valero and City National Bank are also leading employers and generous supporters within the communities we serve.”

Cheryl Gage joined City National Bank in 1990 and currently serves as senior V.P. in the Bank’sLong Beachcommercial banking office. She assists privately held business owners in all aspects of business banking, and has been in market lending since 1984. Gage services a wide variety of clients in the transportation, trade, manufacturing and distribution, international financing, and construction sectors.

image headshot of Stephen Faichney

Stephen Faichney, Valero Energy Corporation

Stephen Faichney has worked in the petrochemical field for 37 years with comprehensive experience in refinery process operations, environmental compliance, government and public affairs, and risk management. In 29 years with Valero, Faichney has designed and managed refinery hazardous waste and air compliance programs and is a California registered Environmental Assessor (REA) with experience in process safety management and environmental compliance auditing throughout the country.

Valero has had a long history of support of ITEP and the Wilmington community.  In addition to sponsoring ITEP’s Annual Scholarship Dinner, the company has also underwritten the ITEP MATCH (Maritime Agriculture, Tourism, Cuisine & Hospitality) Academy’s 10th grade trip to the   4-H Youth Leadership Conference at UC Davis and has provided funds for to support the GESA (Global Environmental Science Academy) trip to the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program.  Valero employees have volunteered as mentors, classroom speakers and mock interviewers, as well as represent the company on several of ITEP’s academy advisory boards.

City National Bank has provided numerous scholarships to GSS (Global Safety and Security Academy) students to attend the California Maritime Academy and has been a sponsor of ITEP’s Annual Scholarship Dinner.
“Cheryl Gage and Stephen Faichney are great supporters of ITEP and our mission. I’m personally delighted to be working with them to help take our organization to new heights,” said CEO Grat.



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International Trade Education Programs (ITEP) CEO discusses student job training, opportunities and career success on CNN Headline News

ITEP GSS Academy pose at last year's annual dinner event.

ITEP CEO Amy Grat also talks about the 11th Annual Scholarship Dinner, “Visualizing Tomorrow,” an event that is honoring Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe

Los Angeles, CACNN Headline News Charter Local Edition (CLE) is set to broadcast a live recorded interview focusing on International Trade Education Programs (ITEP) and CEO Amy Grat this Wednesday and Thursday, March 3rd and 4th.

This newsletter caught up with Scholarship Dinner Chair Tom Matson at a board meeting to see how the excitement and energy was building for the annual Dinner March 23rd. Watch here

Grat talks about this year’s Recipient LA County Supervisor Don Knabe of the 2011 ITEP Keeper of the Flame Award. The 4th District LA County supervisor will be honored at ITEP’s 11th Annual Scholarship Dinner, “Visualizing Tomorrow,” to be held at the World Cruise Center, Berth 93, Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro, CA on March 23rd. (5:30 p.m.– 8:30 p.m.)

The four and a half minute “live to tape”, in- studio, interview will air on CNN HLN at :24 and :54 minutes past the hour between midnight to 4 p.m. (check local listings)

“We are thrilled to honor Supervisor Knabe and recognize his long-standing support of ITEP as an organization,” said CEO Amy Grat, of ITEP in announcing Supervisor Knabe’s selection for the Keeper of the Flame” Award. “He is passionate about job creation and education for the region and is a terrific role model for our students.”

Previous honorees have included both industry and civic leaders, including Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, former Port of Long Beach Commissioner Jim Hankla, and CEO of Nautilus International Holding Corporation James Callahan.

Grat also talks about how ITEP helps students prepare for careers in the maritime industry. “ITEP connects the high school classroom with the business community,” Grat told TV News Anchor Tracy Young, when asked about high school training and student opportunities.  Grat also noted that when students start thinking about careers early, it helps them succeed in life. ITEP academy students realize they can get into college and get good paying jobs with the right training and experience.

Edy Delgado, an ITEP Academy Graduate talks about his first trip to Washington DC and how he got to sail a big ship for the first time and his first airplane ride to DC. watch here


“We think in terms of pathways,” Grat said. “ITEP introduces students to different career pathways – starting in 10th grade and continuing through high school.” Grat also noted that ITEP starts with community service in 10thgrade.  “This is the first opportunity to introduce students to showing up, taking direction, and being responsible.  And to expose them to opportunities right outside their doors,” she explained.  ITEP recently held is first Community Service Expo, where students were introduced to nearly two dozen nonprofits in the region at Banning High School.


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